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Dhaka Tribune

PM: Premiership a scope to serve people

The prime minister said Bangladesh is marching towards development and her government's goal is the continuation of this development trend

Update : 21 Nov 2018, 03:32 PM

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday expressed her firm determination to keep up the pace of development, saying she considered the premiership as a scope to serve the people of the country.

“Running the state, and the post of prime minister are big opportunities to ensure the welfare of the people,” she said at a reception on the occasion of Armed Forces Day 2018.

“I am making strides to serve the people and advance the country further... Bangladesh will surely advance, insha Allah,” the prime minister said at the reception, accorded to the successors of Birshreshthas – the highest military award in Bangladesh, given to seven freedom fighters – and the gallantry award-recipient freedom fighters of the armed forces at the Army Multipurpose Complex in Dhaka Cantonment Wednesday morning, reported BSS.

Lt Gen Md Mahfuzur Rahman, principal staff officer of the Armed Forces Division (AFD), delivered the welcome address at the function, which was also attended by Liberation War Affairs Minister AKM Mozammel Haque, PM’s Security Adviser Maj Gen (retd) Tarique Ahmed Siddiq, Chief of Army Staff Gen Aziz Ahmed, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Nizamuddin Ahmed, and Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Masihuzzaman Serniabat, along with civil and military high officials.

As many as 101 gallantry-award recipient freedom fighters and their family members, including those of the seven Bir shreshthas, attended the function.

Addressing the ceremony, Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh is now a role model of development in the world. “We achieved this honour through liberating the country, and now many nations of the world want to follow Bangladesh,” she said.

She said Bangladesh was marching towards development, and the aim of her government was to maintain the pace of advancement.

“We started our journey towards advancement, overcoming many hurdles. We will be able to achieve our goal, and no one can stop us,” she asserted.

She expressed her belief that Bangladesh would successfully celebrate the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 2020 and the golden jubilee of independence in 2021.
The premier said Bangladesh was now an independent country; and the independence was earned in exchange for blood of millions of martyrs.

“Bangladesh is now an independent country which will never fail... we want to reach the fruits of independence to every house and we want the people of the country to no longer suffer from poverty and hunger,” she said.

Quoting Bangabandhu’s historic March 7 speech, Sheikh Hasina said: “No one will be able to stop Bangladesh… it is advancing and will move ahead further.”

‘Committed to serve the people until the end’

She expressed her commitment to serve the people until her last day with a desire to make the country a suitable abode for the next generation.

“The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep,” she said, quoting famous American poet Robert Frost.

The premier added: “I want to go ahead whatever dark it is, whatever worst the disaster is and whatever deep the forest is.”

She also recited from Poet Sukanta Bhattacharya’s “Chharpatra”: “Choley jabo, tobu aaj jatakkhan dehe achey pran, pranponey prithivir sorabo janjal…….. E bishwake e shishur basjoggya kore jabo ami”.

The English lines could be read as: “I will leave, but I will clear the odds with all my efforts so long I’m alive. I will make the earth livable for the children; it’s my firm commitment to a new born.”

Also Read- EC issues directives to stop allocations for development projects

‘We are determined to ensure betterment of the freedom fighters’

The prime minister said her government was pledge-bound to ensure the welfare of the freedom fighters and their socio-economic development.

“It is not possible for me to accept in any way that the freedom fighters, who liberated the country by taking firearms in their hands, risking the life and responding to the call of Bangabandhu, will remain in miseries,” she said.

Sheikh Hasina said she was trying her best so every family member of a freedom fighter could stay well and live smoothly. “I will continue my efforts in this regard, and I want that you will inform me if you have any problem.”

Highlighting her government’s various steps for the welfare of the freedom fighters, the premier said from this fiscal year, Tk5,000 as Victory Day Allowance and Tk2,000 as Noboborsho (Bangla New Year) Allowance are being given to each freedom fighter.

She said the government had enacted Bangladesh Freedom Fighters’ Welfare Trust Law 2018, ending long-standing complicated problems of the freedom fighters.

“From now on, the freedom fighters from armed forces, martyred and war-wounded freedom fighters and their heirs will not face any trouble in receiving honorarium,” she added.

Sheikh Hasina said various facilities like education allowance, festival allowance, medical treatment at home and abroad, and wedding allowance for daughters were also being provided to the allowance-recipient freedom fighters.

She said a project to construct 3,000 houses for freedom fighters had been implemented at a cost of nearly Tk300 crore.

Sheikh Hasina said her government had implemented many projects for the welfare of the freedom fighters, including Mujib Nagar Muktijuddho Smriti Kendra, preservation and development of war fields, construction of Liberation War memorials, Liberation War museum and establishing Muktijoddha Complex in 60 districts and 315 upazilas.

The prime minister said it was the nation’s responsibility to remember with gratitude the outstanding contributions of the freedom fighters to achieving Bangladesh’s independence.

“We are firmly committed to preserving the glorious history and heritage of the Liberation War so the generations after generations could know the real history of independence,” she added.

The prime minister said the present government which upholds the spirit of the Liberation War has increased the retirement age of the freedom fighter officers and employees.

She also said the government was also providing training and loans to the freedom fighters and their heirs to establish themselves as a skilled workforce. “As many as 34,819 people have so far received such loans,” she added.

‘Armed forces responsible to protect our sovereignty’

The prime minister said the great task of safeguarding the country’s independence and sovereignty has been vested in the armed forces.

“Alongside performing this sacred responsibility, the members of our patriotic armed forces have been maintaining representative participation in combating natural disasters, constructing infrastructure and maintaining law and order,” she said, extending her heartiest congratulations to all members of the armed forces.

The prime minister asked members of the armed forces to further brighten Bangladesh’s image abroad by discharging their duty with utmost honesty, integrity and efficiency.

The prime minister said Bangladesh would not wage any war against any country, “but our armed forces must be befitting to an independent nation.”

“We will not be engaged in war with any country, but we will not spare any country if we come under attack... we will resist the enemy till our last breath,” she said.

Earlier, the prime minister presented honorarium cheques and gifts to the successors of seven Birshreshthas as well as other gallantry award-recipient freedom fighters.

She also handed over “Bahini Padak” to nine army members, one navy member and three air force members in recognition to their heroic role in war and peacetime.

Later, Sheikh Hasina visited Combined Military Hospital (CMH) in Dhaka to see Fazilatunnesa, 70, wife of Bir shreshtha Noor Mohammad.

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